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Large Bitcoin Player Manipulated Price Sharply Higher, Study Says
‘Stablecoin’ tether, Bitfinex exchange reportedly used to drive up cryptocurrency’s price in 2017 and 2018

[Image: im-123354?width=620&size=1.5]
If the price of bitcoin was manipulated, this would undermine a key feature of the cryptocurrency market, one of the study’s authors said.PHOTO: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS

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By
 
Paul Vigna

Nov. 4, 2019 5:30 am ET
A single large player manipulated the price of bitcoin as it ran up to a peak of nearly $20,000 two years ago, a new study concludes.
The study reviewed the period between March 2017 and March 2018, when the price of bitcoin soared and its total market value rose to $326 billion. About half of that increase was due to the influence of a manipulation scheme, according to the study’s authors.
They said the unknown manipulator operated from a single account at Bitfinex, the largest cryptocurrency exchange at the time. The manipulator used another cryptocurrency, called tether, to boost demand for bitcoin, leading to the price surge.
It isn’t clear by how much or if the manipulator profited. Bitcoin traded at nearly $9,200 on Sunday.
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